Support.com has released version 6.0 of the anti-malware software SUPERAntiSpyware recently. One of the main new features of the application is the new System Investigator tool which scans key locations of the system and provides you with suggestions based on its findings.
This sounds a lot like what tools such as HiJackThis do, on paper at least.
The program scans the following key system areas: user startup programs, Internet browser plugins, services & drivers, desktop, start & taskbar, temporary folders, running processes, download folders, Registry load points, installed applications, classes, application data folders, Windows Task Scheduler, and Document Folders.
When you open System Investigator with a click on System Tools > System Investigator in the revamped interface, you may modify scan rules before you hit the start button.
The program will for instance download a whitelist and user ratings when you run System Investigator by default. You can prevent that from happening, even though it may remove helpful information from the report.
What you may want to enable however is the malware scan for all results. If you want, you can also customize the categories the program scans. If you leave it untouched, it will scan them all.
When you hit Start, you are taken through a series of result pages, one for each category scanned.
The first category, Windows User Startup, sorts startup programs into categories such as unknown or known good to help you make a decision.
Here you find listed user ratings as well if you have not disabled the feature which may be useful.
There is no direct option to remove an item from startup. To do so, you need to select the downvote button and check the item removal box on the page that is displayed.
This is far from ideal in my opinion. Say you want to remove a startup item that you like but no longer need. If you downvote it, the vote will be shared with the community so that future users will see it and may base their decision on it as well.
Each category that the program scanned on the system is displayed in similar fashion. One difference is that you do not get the vote options in all categories though.
The Internet Browser Plugins category for example shows only an x-icon next to each browser plugin which you can use to uninstall it from the browser. This did not work in tests though.
According to SUPERAntiSpyware, the uninstaller for the plugin should be launched. It is likely that it could not find the uninstaller for the selected items because there is none.
Some information are highly technical. The Desktop, Start & Taskbar listing for example lists file names such as ADBWINAP.DLL from Google, Inc as an unknown item, and a click on the details icon does not reveal information that help you determine if the file is legit or not.
Up or downvotes may help, but only a few items are rated on that page currently. The only option you have at this point in time is to investigate the file by yourself to find out more about it.
If you do, you will find out that it included in the Android Developer Tools. Doing so for all of the unknown files listed here, on a test system 130, would take a long time though.
The same is true for other categories such as the Application Data Folders category which listed 670 unknown items or temporary folders with 40 items.
It would take days or even weeks to analyze those files manually.
SUPERAntiSpyware's System Investigator needs some refinement before it becomes a tool that is useful to users of all experience levels.
While it seems comprehensive in regards to the information it makes available, it lacks clear and easy to understand suggestions on how to proceed.
User ratings may be a step in the right direction, but there are not that many yet.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.